Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Four mineworkers were found dead at Sibanye Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva Shaft after they went missing on Monday.

This is the second incident at the company after 13 mine-workers were trapped underground in May at the firm’s Masakhane shaft in Driefontein following seismic activity. Seven workers were killed.

“The NUM [National Union of Mineworkers] is angry and concerned at the rate at which mining incidents are happening at Sibanye Stillwater,” union spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said on Monday night.

“It seems that disasters have become the order of the day at Sibanye Stillwater and we are highly disturbed and angered by this as this company is leading the pack in terms of fatalities and the number of deaths per mine.

“This is unacceptable as we don’t sell our lives, limbs or lungs to the industry but our labour,” he said.

The Department of Mineral Resources minister and its inspectorate must now act on this employer or bear the might of NUM, NUM health and safety chairman Peter Bailey said.

The Association of Mine-workers and Construction Union (Amcu) called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step in.

The death toll in a reported “gassing” incident at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof operations had risen to four with three more workers found dead on Monday. One worker was still missing, the union said..

“Amcu received reports from its health and safety desk that another three workers were found at Ikamva Shaft. After a reported gassing incident‚ five workers were trapped‚ and one body was recovered. This means that four mineworkers have died and a further one is still missing. Even though the Department of Mineral Resources reportedly ordered the closing of the shaft‚ a manager still forced workers to go underground‚” the union said.

“This brings the total number of deaths at the operations of Sibanye-Stillwater this year‚ to a shocking total of 19. The union again calls for the urgent intervention of the president to address this tragic state of affairs. Previously Amcu has attempted to garner all kinds of support to address this state of affairs‚ including requesting interventions by Mining Minister Gwede Mantashe and President Cyril Ramaphosa. This has not yet yielded results.

“We call on President Rama-phosa to urgently intervene and address this issue”.

Amcu said it wanted to see the Mine Health and Safety Act amended to give more power to workers and trade unions to address safety issues‚ in order to counter the power of mining companies and bosses.